Home > Racism in Israel, Religious Freedom, Suppression of Dissent > Yediot’s legal affairs editor on “the emergence of apartheid and fascism” in Israel

Yediot’s legal affairs editor on “the emergence of apartheid and fascism” in Israel

Yediot’s legal affairs editor, Judge (ret.) Boaz Okon, lists a series of undemocratic events in the Israeli public sphere and urges his readers to come to contemplate what they mean when seen together:

Okon

These dots are growing evidence of the lack of the spirit of freedom and the emergence of apartheid and fascism. If you look at each dot separately you might miss the bigger picture. Like a child watching a military brigade march, and after seeing the battalions, the batteries and the companies, asking: “And when is the brigade finally coming?” the answer is that while he watched the marching of the battalions, batteries and companies, he was actually watching the brigade. So is the situation in Israel. You do not have to ask where the apartheid is. These events, which are accepted with silence and indifference, together create a picture of a terrible reality.

—–

Draw me a Monster

Op-ed, Boaz Okon [legal affairs editor], Yediot, June 22 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]

Just like in a children’s connect-the-dots coloring book, where connecting random dots creates a picture, so in Israel, if you connect a number of horrifying, multiplying incidents, you begin to see a monster.

Dot number one: a school in Emmanuel segregates students along ethnic lines. The court, upholding the principle of equality, orders the segregation to be canceled, but is held in contempt by an entire prejudiced community. They rely on the old defense plea “tu quique” — “you too” — meaning you too maintain hidden segregation. That is a pathetic and perverse defense, but it is disturbing because the number of mizrahi Jews in academe, the legal institutions and the senior civil service is too low.

Dot number two: MK Hanin Zoabi joined the flotilla to Gaza. As a result, Knesset members shouted at her “go to Gaza.” Zoabi is an Israeli citizen. Even if her actions are infuriating, you cannot incite against her and call for her expulsion. In the US, when an elderly journalist suggested the Jews in Israel go to Poland, the president condemned her and she had to step down. Our legislators are trying to pass laws to block the funding of bodies such as the New Israel Fund or B’Tselem, only because they dare tell us the truth to our faces.

Dot number three: in Hebron there is segregation between Jews and Arabs, and entire streets are blocked to Arab Palestinians. This decree was passed after the Jewish Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of Arabs. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Israeli Arabs are not allowed to walk around the streets of Hebron. It turns out that Arab identity in itself constitutes a provocation and pretext for disturbances by Jews. The situation is considered normal, and therefore the segregation regime on Highway 443, which the court canceled on paper, continues to exist in practice.

And another dot: among the senior civil service in Israel, in the courts as well as in academe, the number of Arabs is minute. And another dot:  punishment of Arabs is harsher than of Jews. And another dot: at the Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations police are heavy-handed with the demonstrators for Arab rights and gentle with the demonstrators for Jewish rights. And another dot: a judge places obstacles on two men who wish to bring their children born to a surrogate mother to Israel, because of their sexual orientation. And another dot: violation of suspects’ rights is widespread, and more than once false confessions have been extracted from suspects, usually members of minorities, foreign workers or Ethiopians. Nobody investigates the police. The evil spirit, which is quick to convict and loaths differences of opinion and the presumption of innocence, has become part of the culture.

And this too: foreign workers are forbidden from multiplying here, as if they were draft animals. And another dot: gag orders are issued routinely and without justification, and wiretapping orders are issued with a light hand. There is no reaction to illegal wiretapping by the government. In the same way a law is passed to establish a biometric database, despite its violation of privacy, as is the “big brother” law, allowing monitoring of cellular phone calls, e-mail and Internet. And there are many more points concerning the cheapening of the democratic process, buying votes and buying entire parties with offices and benefits.

These dots are growing evidence of the lack of the spirit of freedom and the emergence of apartheid and fascism. If you look at each dot separately you might miss the bigger picture. Like a child watching a military brigade march, and after seeing the battalions, the batteries and the companies, asking: “And when is the brigade finally coming?” the answer is that while he watched the marching of the battalions, batteries and companies, he was actually watching the brigade. So is the situation in Israel. You do not have to ask where the apartheid is. These events, which are accepted with silence and indifference, together create a picture of a terrible reality.

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  1. ARTH
    June 23, 2010 at 10:58

    The worse of all of them is the incitement against Zuabi which has no “security” issue attached to her. Her crime was merely to involve herself in political activities outside of the Zionist/Israeli/Jewish discourse. She never did, in fact, break any law and she never did, involve her self in any sort of overt violence against either the State of Israel or any of its Jewish Israelis.

  2. Larry Snider
    July 20, 2010 at 22:03

    It is difficult to argue with Boaz Okon that the connection of all the dots that he identified represents dark clouds covering the once, (but not so recent), vibrant democracy that Israel still pretends to be. The Occupation has been a daily tragedy with numerous negative daily results, (dots), for 43 years now. There are other dots though and people across Israel/Palestine and beyond working hard each day for peace. Will the dots surrounding the manifold practices of the Occupation swamp all the efforts promoting justice and peace between Israelis and Palestinians? Not if we join together and convince our friends that only together can we stand up effectively and achieve a lasting peace.

  3. July 21, 2010 at 20:27

    As an American concerned about the cracks in our own democratic structure, I can only express admiration for the courage of Yediot’s legal affairs editor and (surely not coincidentally) retired judge Boaz Okun. To refer publicly and in writing to “growing evidence of the lack of the spirit of freedom and the emergence of apartheid and fascism” is a commitment. Moreover, his list of evidence constitutes exactly the sort of research that we need to help us think about not just where we are but, more significantly, where we are headed on the slippery slope that links democratic heights to fascism depths. Solzhenitsyn used this technique brilliantly in three chapters of The Gulag Archipelago in which he tracked the development of Soviet law from the very first days of the 1917 revolution. (For a summary, see Historical and Literary Lessons at http://wmills.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/remember/.) Sadly, people are very good at overlooking the meaning of such little steps: the “emergence” in the complex-adaptive systems sense of a new form of behavior (i.e., authoritarianism if not outright fascism) promoted by the domestic enemies of democracy (see “Israeli Theocracy” at http://mwcnews.net/focus/editorial/3931-israeli-theocracy.html) is exactly what we appear to be observing. It is reassuring to find that at least some Israelis can see this. I wish more Americans had such clear vision.

  1. June 23, 2010 at 12:38
  2. June 23, 2010 at 17:59
  3. June 23, 2010 at 22:09
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  5. June 23, 2010 at 23:26
  6. June 24, 2010 at 11:00
  7. June 25, 2010 at 23:22
  8. June 26, 2010 at 18:42
  9. July 1, 2010 at 03:40
  10. July 17, 2010 at 19:45
  11. July 17, 2010 at 23:06
  12. July 19, 2010 at 01:51
  13. July 20, 2010 at 20:42
  14. May 22, 2011 at 08:46
  15. May 22, 2011 at 08:50
  16. May 22, 2011 at 09:11
  17. May 31, 2011 at 04:19
  18. May 31, 2011 at 04:23
  19. May 31, 2011 at 04:25

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